political participation

In the first century, around the time of Jesus and the early Christian moment, there were at least ‘parties’ representing four types of Jewish response to the occupying presence and rule of the Roman empire. Zealots, Essenes, Sadducees and Pharisees. Zealots and Violent Resistance The Zealots were an expression of angry resistance to Roman rule.… Continue reading political participation

varieties of slavery

It is known that slavery has taken various forms at different times and places in human history. Some person-to-person relationships bearing the name ‘slavery’ is more akin to employment, whilst other forms of relating (not always called ‘slavery’) are more comparable with torture. Given the limited helpfulness of using a single word to gather up… Continue reading varieties of slavery

cunning engagement

On the issues where Christians agree with society, engagement is easy. But when there is a difference of opinion, Christians can, it seems, go to two extremes in their engagement. At one extreme, they can stomp, scream and shout about how bad and wrong the world is, telling non-Christians just how un-Christian they are. The… Continue reading cunning engagement

the danger of “I am not like ___” thinking

Mirroring the growing divide in political discourse around the world is a growing divide within the church between ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ believers. Both would claim to be trying to correctly express and live Christian faith, but it seems to me that ‘progressive’ believers see ‘correctly’ in terms of appropriate correction, adaptation and renovation, whilst ‘conservative’… Continue reading the danger of “I am not like ___” thinking

a consistent ethic of non-violence

My father-in-law, Greg, has volunteered one of the most poignant statements I’ve ever heard about non-violence. After encountering a young would-be robber outside their property, Greg was asked if he’d ever considered keeping a gun. His response was as sharp as it was brief: “No. I’d rather be robbed than kill someone.” Non-violence is hardest… Continue reading a consistent ethic of non-violence

cultural enmity

In this post, I want to reflect on what I take to be one of the most serious and urgent issues in modern society: that of social division. It seems that in the area of political discourse, we are getting poorer at relating to one another. I often feel that the internet in general and… Continue reading cultural enmity

lament with thanksgiving

Lament and thanksgiving are two entirely valid modes of prayer. Both are biblical and practical.  Like God’s people in every time and place, it is a healthy practice to offer to God both our ‘why’ and our ‘thanks’.  In my survey of local Baptist worship in Aotearoa New Zealand, I considered the extent to which… Continue reading lament with thanksgiving

possibility and surrender

I met a friendly man today who, learning of my religiosity, asked me about my views on science and faith.  It was a good chat, not too long, and remained wonderfully amicable. The man was, by global and local standards, wealthy, educated and articulate.  At least some of the time, such a demographic can tend… Continue reading possibility and surrender